The exotica of Louisiana aren’t limited to New Orleans. Roughly 125 miles west of the Big Easy lies the land of Spanish moss-draped swamps, mysterious bayous, and slightly frayed, picturesque hamlets; people speak in a lilting French influenced patois; crawfish, alligator, gumbo, jambalaya, and Andouille sausage are staple menu items; and dance halls and cafes resound with the music of accordions and fiddles as people of all ages gather to play, sing, and dance. This is Acadiana, also known as Cajun Country. As the friendly folks here say, “Laissez les bon temps rouler”—“Let the good times roll!”
This was our second visit to Breaux Bridge, a small town in the heart of Cajun Country. We knew we liked the area when we first visited several years ago. This time, as we explored further, we “got” that we need far more than a couple of days here. Acadiana has a unique culture, cuisine, history, music, and natural landscape—next time, we’ll plan on at least a week. Or even two.
Despite our brief stay, we had a fabulous time. We spent one entire day exploring nearby Lake Martin and Cypress Island Preserve, and were thrilled to find hundreds of nesting Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons, and Roseate Spoonbills. We walked the trails in the morning, and in the afternoon launched our kayak for a leisurely paddle through the beautiful and mysterious swamp.
Music is central to the Acadian way of life, and dance halls, cafes, restaurants, and bars are filled with the lively sounds of Cajun music. Saturday mornings are traditional times for music jams, and we discovered a charming coffee shop in downtown Breaux Bridge (aptly named “Joie de Vivre“) where we enjoyed a couple of hours of spirited music, song, and dance. It was a blast to watch people of all ages enjoying the music and the community. Here’s a snippet of fun, Cajun style:
Saturday morning Cajun jam at Joie de Vivre, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Both times we’ve visited Breaux Bridge we’ve stayed at Poche’s Fish-N-Camp, a delightful campground with fairly spacious sites situated around fishing ponds. We happened to be there on Easter weekend this time, and the campground was filled to bursting with families and little kids running around with Easter baskets. Nonetheless, it was a relatively peaceful stay—we got into the groove of the zydeco/Cajun/country music of our neighbors, and just let the good times roll.